3ie Impact Evaluation Report 20

Impacts of payments for ecosystem services programme in Mexico

3ie Impact Evaluation Report 20

Policies for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) have been a crucial part of international climate change negotiations. To achieve their REDD goals, many countries have national or state-level programmes that offer direct payments to landowners to avoid deforestation.

In this evaluation, Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Glen Aronson, Volker Radeloff, Carlos Ramirez-Reyes, Elizabeth Shapiro, Katharine Sims and Patricia Yañez-Pagans examine the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of Mexico’s federal payments for a hydrological services programme. As part of the programme, payments were offered to landowners to maintain forest cover under five-year contracts.

Using satellite data, a comparison of forest cover across time between beneficiaries and rejected applicants suggests that the programme reduced forest loss compared to what would have been expected in the absence of the programme. Larger impacts were seen in communally held lands, on land of lower slope and closer to cities and in less poor municipalities. The wealth increases for beneficiaries were not significantly larger than those for non-beneficiaries. 

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